Swimming with dolphins in Akaroa tops NZ must-dos

Hector's dolphins leaping in Akaroa Harbour are pictured in an image from The Dolphins Of...
Hector's dolphins leaping in Akaroa Harbour are pictured in an image from The Dolphins Of Aotearoa. Photo by Steve Dawson/hedgehoghouse.com.

Swimming with dolphins in Akaroa has topped Australia's list of the best bucket list experiences in New Zealand.

Also in the top 10 are black water rafting in the Waitomo Caves and cruising Fiordland.

Voted for from a list of 100 nominated must-do Kiwi experiences, the month-long consumer poll by Experience Oz + NZ, received more than 18,000 votes.

It was part of a campaign to highlight the best New Zealand experiences for Australians.

Other options to make the top 10 include jet boating at Huka Falls, checking out the geothermal attractions in Rotorua, and wine tasting in Marlborough.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism's general marketing manager, Angela Gordon, was proud of the news that swimming with dolphins in Akaroa topped the list of NZ essentials.

"We would love for more people to come and experience this unique attraction and share it with friends and family," she said.

The poll was a core component of the "Amazing is Just Across the Ditch" campaign.

Experience Oz + NZ and Tourism New Zealand created the campaign to encourage bookings and promote travel to New Zealand during the off-peak autumn period.

Experience Oz + NZ marketing manager Matt Hobbs explained that New Zealand had plenty to appeal to Australians potentially looking for an overseas trip.

"New Zealand just has so many unique and altogether different experiences that people can't do in Australia, and given it's just a short flight away we wanted to encourage Aussies to put NZ at the top of their travel lists," he said.

"The country is relatively compact with a lot of natural and man-made attractions in a very navigable area. Add to that the gorgeous scenery and friendly locals and you've got one incredible holiday destination."

The top 10 list included the following experiences:
1. Swimming with dolphins in Akaroa

2. Cruising Fiordland's sounds

3. Lord of the Rings Tours

4. Visiting the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers

5. Jet boat at Huka Falls

6. Rotorua's geothermal attractions

7. Cruising Marlborough Sounds

8. Black water rafting in Waitomo Caves

9. Wine tasting in Marlborough

10. Kayaking Fiordland's fiords

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